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Founder of Morris Industries Inspires Appalachia’s Emerging Entrepreneurs

Kentucky Entrepreneur Nate Morris keynotes Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) Annual Summit


OCTOBER 4, 2023 — LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY — Kentucky nonprofit, Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) hosted their annual SOAR Summit October 3-4 in Corbin, Kentucky. The annual event gathers regional leaders to discuss the unique challenges and opportunities in the Appalachian region including Kentucky entrepreneur and keynote speaker, Nate Morris, Chairman and CEO of Morris Industries.


SOAR is a regional organization that champions local projects, programs, and advocacy for the 54 Appalachian Region Commission (ARC) mandated counties in Eastern Kentucky. SOAR’s theme of the summit, "Creating a Brighter Tomorrow," resonated strongly with Morris, the founder of Morris Industries, a Lexington-based conglomerate.


Morris sat down with SOAR Executive Director, Colby Hall, to highlight the critical role of entrepreneurship, innovation, and community engagement in shaping a brighter future for Appalachia and the Commonwealth.


“It was a pleasure to have Nate as a keynote speaker at the annual SOAR Summit. Nate is a shining example of the entrepreneurial spirit in Kentucky. He has been a source of inspiration through the years and grateful for his steadfast support of SOAR and our mission,” says Colby Hall.


Morris spoke to the audience about his personal journey and highlighted the determination that makes Kentuckians natural entrepreneurs.


"Appalachia holds a special place in my heart. My family descends from Morgan County, and I am a ninth-generation Kentuckian. It is only fitting that SOAR's annual summit was hosted in Corbin, Kentucky -- the birthplace of KFC and one of the greatest entrepreneurial stories we have ever known in Colonel Sanders."


Morris touted what makes Kentucky the perfect setting for entrepreneurs. “I think the entrepreneurial spirit that I talk about is what we have here in Eastern Kentucky. Kentuckians don’t quit…that’s something that’s in our DNA.”


Morris Industries is a proud partner of SOAR and dedicated to building a brighter future for this region.


"I'm grateful to be a supporter of SOAR and for the opportunity to contribute to this important conversation,” said Morris.


Other leaders addressing the SOAR Summit included Governor Andy Beshear, Attorney General Daniel Cameron, longtime Eastern Kentucky U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers, Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers, and JP Blevins, a former University of Kentucky basketball player turned investor and banker, among others.


About Morris Industries

Morris Industries is a Kentucky-based conglomerate that is reimagining the industrial economy. Morris Industries works to identify disruptive and innovative companies with unrealized growth potential, whose current ownership desires an exit strategy, requires capital, or needs an experienced management team to continue its growth. Morris Industries was founded on the belief that market-driven innovation can support environmental conservation goals, drive profit, and equip businesses to solve society’s biggest challenges.


Nate Morris founded Morris Industries in 2010 and serves as Chairman and CEO. Morris was the first Kentuckian to be named to Fortune Magazine’s 40 Under 40 list, and he is also the youngest inductee ever to the Kentucky Entrepreneur Hall of Fame. Morris is the founder and Managing Trustee of the Morris Foundation whose mission is to provide access to the American Dream for all Kentuckians. Morris currently serves as the Entrepreneur in Residence at the University of Kentucky’s Gatton College of Business and Economics in addition to serving as the Lead Director of 2X Game Changers.

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